Stylist can exclusively reveal the newest creation from the beloved Little Miss series – and she brings fresh inspiration for ambitious girls.
It’s no secret that women are woefully under-represented in STEM industries (jobs involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics). This problem starts in childhood: recent research by Microsoft showed that girls become interested in STEM subjects just before the age of 11, but their attention is typically lost again by the time they hit 16. Engagement at primary school level is crucial in bringing about a much-needed tidal shift.
Step forward Little Miss Inventor. As exclusively revealed in this week’s issue of Stylist, Little Miss Inventor is the latest character in the beloved cartoon series by Roger Hargreaves. She’ll appear in a new book launched on 8 March 2018, to coincide with International Woman’s Day and British Science Week.
Joining the likes of Little Miss Trouble and Mr. Greedy, Little Miss Inventor is “intelligent, ingenious and inventive”. Her storyline is simple but don’t be fooled; gender expectations are firmly blitzed.
“Her brain is full of ideas, which she turns into extraordinary inventions in a shed at the bottom of her garden,” reads the blurb for the new book. “As well as inventing things for herself, she also invents things for her friends, whether it’s a chatter-natter hat for Little Miss Chatterbox or a back-pack-snack-attack fridge for Mr. Greedy.
“But her greatest challenge yet has her stumped, what an earth could she invent for Mr. Rude?!”
As an iconic Little Miss character, this latest creation joins a line-up of over 90 iconic Little Miss and Mr. Men personalities who have delighted children for decades.
The franchise launched over 45 years ago, when Hargreaves’ son Adam asked him what a tickle looked like. In response, Roger drew a small orange man with extraordinarily long arms that could reach anywhere and tickle anyone. Mr. Tickle was born and many other characters followed, in a globally adored franchise that sends books spinning off the shelves at a rate of one every 2.5 seconds.
“I always enjoy creating a brand new character for the series and it was fun coming up with lots of crazy inventions for Little Miss Inventor’s home and silly ones for all her friends,” says Adam Hargreaves, who now continues his father’s legacy of the bestselling books. “It’s also been nice to write a story that promotes a positive role model and to challenge a stereotype, if only in a small way.”
It may be a modest gesture, but it’s a significant one.
While more women are taking up positions in core STEM occupations in Britain, the proportion of us in these jobs is falling overall. STEM professions are booming, and women aren’t keeping the pace with men when it comes to meeting the demand for talent. If we don’t catch up soon, the UK technology sector will not only suffer from a lack of gender parity; it risks stagnating altogether.
To turn the tide, girls should be allowed to share in a passion for STEM early on; we need inspiring teaching and positive role models.
Little Miss Inventor can’t work miracles but she is a symbolic step forward in this ongoing battle for recognition. All hail her STEM-fuelled prowess.
(And any adults with a rekindled love for the characters can further indulge in this new Christmas range for grown-ups.)
Little Miss Inventor is released by Egmont Publishing on 8 March 2018